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Sports Card Auctions: Starting ‘Em Low Philosophy Works for Just Collect

It’s a philosophy some eBay sellers just can’t embrace.  Starting an auction at 99 cents means that baseball card or autographed picture could sell for…well…99 cents.  It’s a roll of the dice in hopes that Sports Collector Nation isn’t attending a giant pool party somewhere or hiking in a remote spot far from an internet connection.

1909-1911 T206 baseballThe rules state if the bidding stops at under a buck you’re stuck.

As many dealers shy away from ‘start them low and let them go’-style no reserve auctions, eBay’s largest seller of vintage sports cards has had success bringing in many new buyers with their recent $.99 starting prices on ungraded vintage cards.  This week, the New Jersey-based seller has over 1,500 such cards at auction, closing on Sunday.

“Because the economy is tough right now, there are collectors at every level,” said Just Collect’s Scott Greenwald.  “And many more people collect ungraded cards than graded.  People like the excitement of a no-reserve auctiSandy Koufax 1959 Toppson.”

Just Collect doesn’t trot out a bunch of well-worn commons.

A check of their listings shows vintage tobacco and gum cards, Cal Ripken rookies, 1948 Bowman basketball, 1971 Topps Greatest Moments, stars and singles from virtually every era, mid-1970s unopened packs, vintage wrappers, older non-sport cards and just about everything in between.

The quality and the company’s marketing efforts all but ensure at least four or five bidders will participate in the bidding on each lot, but there’s always a chance of landing a stack of major bargains.  And no, they don’t jack up shipping rates to make up for any potential losses.

“We try to offMariano Rivera Bowman rookie carder cards that will sell for $5 and up,” Greenwald said.  “We prefer them to be vintage or modern stars, rookies or short prints.”

Having set up a booth near the front of the National Sports Collectors Convention earlier this month, Just Collect was able to sell face-to-face.  However, the company’s bread and butter is online and they used the show as much as a buying trip than anything else.

“The National is always fun and we enjoy meeting a lot of our clients,” Greenwald told Sports Collectors Daily.  “However, it’s clear that selling on eBay is the best way to keep your sales strong every week.”  And, he says, sales remain strong for blue chip vintage material. “Particularly rare or esoteric cards, while very desirable, have fewer collectors actively pursuing them, and their liquidity has decreased somewhat.

Click here to check out the 99-cent no-reserve auctions on eBay.

About Rich Mueller

Rich is the editor and founder of Sports Collectors Daily. A broadcaster and writer for more than 30 years and a collector for even longer than that, he's usually typing something somewhere. Type him back at [email protected].

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